Hectic Weekend for local SAR teams in the Sangres

Local SAR Teams had a hectic weekend in the region, with mission callouts beginning Friday night and running through Sunday evening. Friday afternoon at approximately 15:00 hours Custer County received a 911 call from a hiker with a possible broken ankle. Heavy storms had just hit the area and the New Orleans man was requesting assistance via his cell phone. As CCSAR was working to determine his exact location, a SPOT beacon was activated in the same area. That notification was relayed to Saguache County and it initially appeared that there were two incidents in the Cottonwood Basin area. After making contact with the subject via cell phone, rescuers were able to determine that the parties were together and that the hiker had fallen in the Red Gully while descending Crestone Peak.
With Saguache SAR as IC, Custer County SAR fielded a two person hasty team who accessed the subject, moved him to a landing zone in the basin and then spent a chilly night in the field with their patient. A second CCSAR team headed in to assist the first team, leaving Westcliffe at 03:00 Saturday. Flight for Life’s Air Guard 3 picked up the injured man at 08:30, for transport to an area hospital and members were back at base by 13:10 Saturday afternoon.
Saguache County received two additional callouts as the first incident was winding down, both on Kit Carson Peak. The first was for an overdue climber who had not been seen in over twenty four hours, followed by a call from a three party team that was disoriented/lost. They had descended the Spanish Creek drainage, instead of the standard Kit Carson descent. These missions were both completed Saturday afternoon without injury. Flight for Life was used by Saguache County in the search for the overdue climber, with no contact. He was later located through interviews with other climbers before being met by the Saguache SAR Hasty Team at the Willow Lake camping area.
Saturday evening saw another brief and intense storm over the area and Custer County received two 911 calls from a party of two stranded while descending Broken Hand Pass in heavy rains, hail and severe lightning. Custer SAR IC was able to contact those subjects via text message and relay radar information to the pair, who ultimately hunkered down for a short time and then were able to self- rescue, getting back to their campsite at the lower lake in the South Colony basin.
Sunday, members of the Technical Rope Rescue Team spent five hours training at Lake DeWeese, practicing rigging and low angle lowering scenarios. While en-route back to base, a callout for a climber with a possible broken wrist and broken finger was received and a hasty team of two was dispatched from the members returning from training. The CCSAR Hasty Team made contact with the 33 year old man from Lonetree CO and a bystander who had been assisting him, as they were walking out the closed section of the four wheel drive road above the trailhead. He had ascended Crestone Peak, then traversed to Crestone Needle, falling twice on the decent. He was transported by the Good Samaritan to an area hospital and discharged on Tuesday. The hasty team then went directly to the Gibson Creek Trailhead, on a vehicle locate for an overdue Pueblo West man and his two son’s ages 13 and 11, who had gone back packing on Friday evening and had failed to meet family members as planned. The trio hiked out, uninjured. They had been delayed by Sunday afternoon’s storms.
CCSAR would like to remind everyone to please plan ahead and pay close attention to the weather and all forecasts. Always get an exceptionally early start and be prepared in the back country for an overnight emergency bivy, if necessary. Emergency survival gear, such as a light weight emergency bivy sack, extra food, water and a headlamp with extra batteries are always a good idea.


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